“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
To write the story of the 2022 Damonte Ranch Mustangs, you have to go back to the Spring of 2022 when longtime Head Coach, Shaun Dupris, announced his resignation. Dupris was just the second coach in program history, guiding the team to the playoffs every year, the second round seven times, three times to the Northern title game, and to two Northern titles. In addition to his on-the-field accomplishments, Dupris and his staff were also very proud of winning multiple state academic football titles. So, this season’s story begins with his replacement.
Damonte picked Patrick Achord to replace Dupris; Achord had been an assistant in Vegas at Sunrise Mountain before moving to Utah where he had been the offensive coordinator and the interim head coach for Canyon View High School. Achord never made it to Reno, which forced the administration, in May, to find someone to step in and run the program; that someone was Ty Gregg.
Gregg had been a part of Dupris staff and had served as the Head Coach for North Valleys from 2009-2013. Gregg was immediately tasked with filling a depleted coaching staff, a difficult task at any time, especially just three months prior to the start of the 2023 season. Gone were two longtime varsity coaching fixtures, Ben Coffield and Joe Lawrence. Coffield moved to Coral Academy to become their Athletic Director and Lawrence had joined Aaron Cook’s staff at Galena. Gregg found some familiar faces to help round out his staff: Peyton Dixon, Bryson Toles, and Tai Allison. Dixon played for Bishop Manogue while Toles and Allison are graduates of Damonte Ranch. Other new coaches were brought into the fold and the Mustangs prepared for the 2022 season.
The 2022 season began with a non-conference stretch which one 5A Northern football coach told me might just be the most difficult in Damonte’s history.
• Escalon went 9-3
• Lodi finished 7-4 this season
• Faith Lutheran made the NIAA 5A playoffs and finished the season 6-4
It was a tough start for the Mustangs, opening 0-4 after losing to Reed, before picking up their first win in September, a resounding 38-7 victory over the Reno Huskies. After picking up two more wins the Mustangs secured the fourth spot in the playoffs and a second date with the Huskies. After their playoff exit the Mustangs 2022 record stood at 3-7, 3-3 in league. Coach Gregg and his staff faced a number of difficult tasks this season, but they did guide the team to the playoffs while also successfully defending the Cross Saw, and that’s just two of the many reasons to be proud of what the 2022 Mustangs accomplished. Here are the postseason honors members of the 2022 team picked up.
Adams, Austin- All-North honorable mention offensive line (center)
Anderson, Cooper - All-North honorable mention quarterback
Black, Ronin - All-North honorable mention offensive line (guard)
Brown, Joe - first team All-North linebacker, honorable mention kicker
Galvin, Carsen - All-North honorable mention linebacker
Gonzalez Brown, DJ - All-North honorable mention return specialist
Kimmel, Conner - All-North honorable mention defensive end
Norman, Jett - All-North honorable mention athlete
Papke, Jackson - All-North honorable mention wide receiver
Rodahaffer, Alex - first team All-North tight-end, second team All-North defensive end
Rodriguez, Cameron - first team All-North running back
Scott, Cody - second team All-North offensive line (tackle)
Toles, Braelen – first team All-North defensive tackle
Vargas, Drew - first team All-North defensive back, first team All-North wide receiver
Venezia, Michael - second team All-North linebacker
Watson, Derek -second team All-North offensive line (guard)
Villanueva, Andres - All-North honorable mention offensive line (tackle)
In addition, Braelen Toles finished third in the state with 13.5 sacks, a total that also broke the school record previously held by Evan Defer (2012). Michael Venezia’s five interceptions tied him for third in the state (three players had seven, two had six, and eleven had five) this season. Sadly, the program says farewell to 19 seniors, many of whom played multiple years for Damonte, but as Einstein said, you hope for tomorrow, and the Mustangs hope rests with the returning juniors as well as the underclassmen that played significant roles for the 2022 team.
About Your Author - Lynn Ault covers Damonte Ranch athletics for Battle Born Preps. His wife teaches at Damonte and both of his kids graduated from the Ranch. When not covering the Mustangs, he is working with middle and high school students for Hope Community, a non-denominational church in south Reno.